One scary part about living in the digital world is that the distance between the powerful and those who wish to do harm is smaller than most would like to consider. Recently, a U.K. email prankster who goes by the Twitter handle @SINON_REBORN was able to fool top members of the Trump administration by creating fake email accounts and posing as administration officials.
“I try and keep it on the humorous side of things,” the prankster told CNN. “I’m not trying to get the keys to the vault or anything like that.” But the spear-phishing techniques he used are similar to those Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta fell for during the 2016 election.
“This shows how susceptible government officials are to spear-phishing in general,” Adam Malone, a former cyber specialist, told CNN. “Spear-phishing is the most common technique used by hackers to gain access to their victims. This information shines a light on how easy it is for people to build trust with unverified individuals.”
In one exchange, the prankster, posing as White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, had a conversation with Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert.
The prankster also tricked then-White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci into thinking he was communicating with his rival, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, the day after his resignation.
While in the role of communications director, Scaramucci was also fooled by the prankster posing as Jon Huntsman Jr., the ambassador-designate to Russia. The conversation revolved around Scaramucci’s recent criticisms of White House chief strategist Steve Bannon and Priebus to The New Yorker.
Huntsman was also the victim of the prankster, this time posing as Eric Trump.
According to Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House is taking a serious look into the security breach. “We take all cyber related issues very seriously and are looking into these incidents further,” she told CNN. While they’re at it, the White House should also take a look into a more serious threat to cyber security: Russia’s attempt to hack the 2016 election.
Share image by Email Prankster/Twitter.